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    Your Overseas Assets in Divorce – What to Know

    The Impact of Overseas Assets on your Divorce

    vineyard with house - overseas asset

    Managing your divorce process is not without its fair share of administrative hurdles, especially when it comes to financial disclosure. And when more complicated assets, such as property abroad, are involved, the process can be more complex. As a family mediation service, we understand the importance of providing clear guidance on how these international assets factor into the broader context of divorce (in England and Wales). In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of overseas assets on your divorce, or more specifically properties, on financial disclosure and how family mediation can play a valuable role in resolving these matters amicably.

    Understanding International Assets

    When a couple decides to divorce in England and Wales, all assets must be considered during the financial settlement process. This includes properties owned abroad, which can complicate matters due to the different legal systems and regulations in various countries. The treatment of these overseas assets depends on whether they are considered matrimonial or non-matrimonial.

    Financial Disclosure and Overseas Properties

    Full and transparent financial disclosure is a fundamental requirement in divorce proceedings in England and Wales. This includes providing details about all assets, including those situated abroad. Failing to disclose overseas properties can have serious consequences, as the court relies on accurate information to make fair decisions.

    As part of your divorce process, you will be required to complete a D81 (Statement of Information). This form is used when both parties have reached an agreement on how to divide their finances and are seeking a consent order from the court to formalise their agreement.  Completing the D81 in your divorce is not just a procedural step; it’s a commitment to honesty. Withholding assets on this form could result in you being held in contempt of court. Any consent agreement could then be set aside and the whole legal process would need to be repeated. The court may also consider the matter of costs if this were to occur.

    Family mediation offers a confidential and structured environment for couples to discuss financial matters openly. Mediators can guide the conversation towards a comprehensive understanding of the couple’s financial situation, ensuring that all relevant assets, including international properties, are disclosed, and considered in the negotiation process.

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    Are overseas assets included in a divorce settlement?

    Yes, you need to disclose them as an asset and then discuss what would happen to them. The fact the asset is located abroad, does not mean it is not included in the overall pot. You may decide between you that the asset is not to be shared or sold as part of your overall financial settlement, but there is no absolute rule on overseas assets being excluded from the divorce.


    Types of overseas assets may include:
    pile of oil paintings
    • Property either owned or jointly owned with others
    • Timeshares
    • Land
    • Businesses
    • Pensions
    • Savings
    • Offshore trusts
    • Cryptocurrency
    • Liabilities (Foreign debts)
    • Precious metal holdings/antiques/artwork

    These, and any other assets, need to be valued as close to the day of disclosure as possible and may need updating if the divorce proceedings are protracted. Attaining valuations for overseas assets can be challenging and they may fluctuate significantly. The values need to be agreed prior to agreeing on the overall settlement. Take a look at our blog here on the process to agree a financial settlement, for more information on this.

    Resolving Disputes Amicably

    The involvement of international assets can lead to disputes during divorce proceedings. Family mediation provides a non-adversarial approach to resolving conflicts, promoting communication and collaboration between the parties. Our Mediators work with both individuals to explore creative solutions and find common ground, fostering a cooperative atmosphere that can lead to a more amicable resolution.

    A court in England in Wales will not have jurisdiction to dispose of assets that are based overseas themselves. But they can order that it happens and if it does not you could be in contempt of court. They may also decide it is safer to offset an asset overseas against an asset which is held in England and Wales.

    Summary

    In practical terms, dealing with divorce and overseas assets in England and Wales means making a full financial disclosure and then discussing how all assets will be divided up fairly based on need. As a family mediation company, we’re here to offer practical guidance, ensuring couples openly discuss and disclose their international assets. Both independent legal advice and financial advice is recommended, especially where finances are more complicated. This straightforward approach helps couples find fair and friendly resolutions. Our aim is to make the process clear and manageable, so couples can confidently move forward to the next phase of their lives with a solid understanding of their financial situation.

    FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FAMILY MEDIATION IN OUR BLOG

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